PRIORITY SPENDING: MEC for finance in the Free State Seiso Mohai presents his R26,8bn budget. Picture: Maryna van Wyk
Maryna van Wyk
The provincial budget of R26.8bn for 2013-14 is a budget for development and economic growth and would make a critical contribution to South Africa as a whole.
In delivering the 2013-14 budget speech at the historic Fourth Raadsaal in Bloemfontein on Wednesday, MEC for finance Seiso Mohai adhered to national priorities, with the department of education getting the biggest slice of the allocations to provincial departments.
“The government declared education an apex priority as quality education is still concentrated in schools in areas where the majority is non-African.”
Mohai allocated R10.45bn to education, more than 30% of the total budget, with the department of health receiving R7.89bn.
The third biggest allocation will go to the department of police, roads and transport with R2.26bn.
Public works and human settlements received R1.41bn and R1.23bn respectively. Social development received R951.22m.
Mohai congratulated the department of education under MEC Tate Makgoe for exceeding the targeted pass rate for the class of 2012 and the clean audits received by the office of the premier and the treasury.
“We remain committed to ensuring that all departments, municipalities and public entities strive towards a clean audit,” he said.
“Notwithstanding the challenging and turbulent times on the economic front, we remain resolute to our vision for the province through the National Development Plan and our own growth and development strategy.”
Mohai said unemployment was still the most serious issue confronting the Free State economy.
“We have now reached a point in history where economic power relations have to be changed to advance social transformation to a higher level, based on social solidarity and inclusivity. The old economic power relations that remain intact are becoming dangerous to the stability of our hard-won democracy,” he said.
The smaller departments such as agriculture and rural development were allocated R673.29m, sport, arts and culture R515.13m million, cooperative governance and traditional affairs R348.41m, the department of the premier R279.95m, the legislature R173.69m and treasury R216.355m.
Mohai concluded that investment in infrastructure was key to economic growth and the creation of work opportunities.